Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October is Family History Month!

Free Five Generation Family Tree Fan Chart from

October is Family History Month, and we have a number of databases that can help you research your own family history.  Here are some of my favorites:

Archive of Americana is one of the library's databases that provides access to primary-source historical materials such as newspapers, government documents, and other publications.  This database includes American Historical Newspapers (most of which only go through 1922 due to copyright), and the Dallas Morning News - Historical, which includes issues from October 1, 1885, through December 31, 1984.  (Issues from August 12, 1984 to today's can be found at the Dallas Morning News - Current link.)  For a brief tutorial on using the Archive of Americana database, check out this post from February 2012.

Newspapers are a great source of family history information.  You'd be surprised at how much information can be found in the New York Times - Historical (1851-2009), even if your ancestors did not live in New York City.  If you or ancestors were affiliated with Tarleton (or even from Stephenville), check out our J-TAC Newspaper Archive (1909-2009).  This connects you to the Portal to Texas History, where photographs, maps, newspapers, yearbooks, documents, and other materials from Texas libraries, museums, archives, historical and/or genealogical societies, and private family collections have been digitized and indexed in this free online database.

Speaking of Texas - the Handbook of Texas Online has historical information and sources that can help you with your research, and Texas Digital Sanborn Maps has early maps (1867-1970) of towns and cities in Texas.

Another database to check is the Biography and Genealogy Master Index, which indexes current reference sources as well as the most important retrospective works that cover individuals, both living and deceased, from every field of activity and from all areas of the world.  If we don't have the listed reference source in our collection, talk to me or another librarian about obtaining what you need through interlibrary loan.

Three of our newest databases are African American Archives, American Revolutionary War Archives, and World War II Archives, all accessed through the first link.  These provide you with material at the Fold3 subscription database site, "the web's premier collection of original military records."  Of particular interest are the World War II Hero pages, with primary-source documents, first-hand accounts, photos, timelines, and maps for over 8.8 million men and women who served in this conflict.

Finally, we have HeritageQuest Online.  This database allows you to search indexed U.S. Census records from 1790 through 1940, over 28,000 family and local history books, and over 2.3 million genealogy and local history articles from 1800 to 2009, as well as Revolutionary War pension and bounty land warrant application files, and Freedman's Bank records from 1865 to 1874.

If you need help using any of these databases, see our Coordinator for Archives and Special Services (and amateur genealogist) Amanda Pape, on the lower level of the Dick Smith Library, call her at 254-968-9251, or (best) e-mail her at

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